CHANGES TO NSW COURT PROCEDURES DUE TO COVID-19 – PART 2

On 22 March the Prime Minister announced further measures to support social distancing and slow the spread of coronavirus, including additional restrictions on social gatherings.

Effective from midday on 23 March, the following ‘non-essential’ businesses were restricted from trading:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues) and hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and nightclubs
  • Restaurants and cafes (restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery only)
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies)

Courts and Tribunals are considered an ‘essential service’ and will therefore at this stage continue to operate, in a modified form, in an effort to protect the health of all court users.

 

Below are some common questions we are being asked about matters which are listed in the District and Supreme Courts. This information is current as at 24 March 2020 and should be read in conjunction with the blog we posted on 18 March.

We will provide a further update in relation to Local Court matters in the coming days.

 

Do I still need to attend Court?

From 30 March 2020 the District Court will be limiting District Court appearances as much as possible by introducing virtual court room technology.

If you are legally represented your lawyer will be able to attend many administrative appearances via AVL on your behalf without you needing to attend.

In the Supreme Court, no one is allowed to physically attend Court unless in exceptional circumstances with the leave of the Chief Justice. The vast majority of matters will proceed via virtual court room technology.

 

I have a matter listed for trial. Will it still proceed?

In the District and Supreme Courts, all new jury trials have been suspended. Trials which have already started are continuing.  Some trials will be able to be heard by a judge alone, rather than a jury, but only in certain circumstances.

On 23 March the Chief Judge announced that many District Court trials will be vacated and re-listed after October 2020.

 

I have an upcoming District Court appeal. Will it still proceed?

If your matter has been listed for a severity or conviction appeal in the District Court, it will proceed. Virtual court room technology will be utilised and persons in custody will appear via AVL, rather than in person.

 

I have a matter listed for sentence in the District Court. Will it still proceed?

At this stage all District Court sentences will proceed as listed. Virtual court room technology will be utilised and persons in custody will appear via AVL, rather than in person.

 

If you have any concerns about the changes to NSW Court procedures or your upcoming matter, you should either contact your lawyer or the Courts Service Centre on 1300 679 272.